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Monodora myristica (calabash nutmeg)

Calabash nutmeg is a large tropical tree with huge leaves and exotic, scented flowers that hang down on cord-like twigs.
Flower of calabash nutmeg

Monodora myristica (calabash nutmeg)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Monodora myristica (Gaertn.) Dunal

Common name: 

calabash nutmeg, Jamaican nutmeg

Conservation status: 

Not Evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Evergreen rainforest, deciduous forest, lowland river banks.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental, culinary, medicinal, timber.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Monodora

About this species

There are around 14 species of Monodora (meaning one gift, alluding to its solitary fruit) in tropical Africa. Monodora myristica is a large deciduous tree (up to 35 m) and has a wide canopy of green leaves and stunning flowers.

In the wild, this species is pollinated by beetles and produces large fruits filled with pulp and aromatic, brown seeds. The seeds are used in Africa as a substitute for nutmeg, hence the name calabash nutmeg. Monodora myristica was introduced to the Caribbean in the 18th century and is known there as Jamaican nutmeg.


Annona myristica Gaertn., Monodora borealis Scott-Elliot, Monodora claessensii De Wild., Monodora grandiflora Benth.


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